The Bishops Homily – Pentecost Sunday 2017

Pentecost Sunday
Acts 2: 1-11
I Cor. 12: 3-13
John 20: 19-23

INTRODUCTION: There is a thirst in every man that makes him continually search or look for something. The truth is nothing in this world ever does finally satisfy. “Lord, you have made us for yourself; therefore, our heart is restless until it rests on you.” St. Augustine. This is the glory of human life but also its sadness! We want something that the world cannot give. What we really want is the Holy Spirit, the very life of God, his vitality and energy. This is what we focus today on this great Feast of Pentecost.

(1) This is the message of the Gospel on the Vigil of Pentecost in John 7: 37, “Let him who is thirsty, come to me.” “Kayong mga nauuhaw ay lumapit sa akin.” Thirst is the body’s way of signaling it needs something essential and it needs it now. We need the Holy Spirit desperately and now, if we want to live spiritually. This is the thirst in you that nothing can satisfy. Heartache is what corresponds to thirst: the quest for meaning, purpose, joy, love, the satisfaction of one’s deepest longing. Everybody has this!

The same message is conveyed in the first Reading on the Feast of Pentecost itself in Acts 2: 11. The Jews came from all over the known world then but they heard the same message in their own language. Why? Because it is the message that everybody is thirsty for. The Universality of the thirst about which the Gospel refers! What the Church offers is the water of the Holy Spirit.

(2) How to get that Holy Spirit? A clue comes from our 2nd Reading from Paul: “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” “Hindi masasabi ninuman, ‘Panginoon si Hesus’, kung hindi siya pinapatnubayan ng Espiritu Santo.” (I Cor. 12: 3) There is a tight correlation between the Holy Spirit and declaring the Lordship of Jesus. What does that mean? To submit to his dominion every detail of one’s life not only once a week but all the time! The submission to the Lordship of Jesus will unleash the Holy Spirit in you. The two are related: when you make Jesus your Lord, the Holy Spirit is operative in you.

(3) Is this not the thirst that John 7 or the breath (spiritus) that John 20 refers to? As Jesus dies/expires or breathes his last, he hands over the Spirit (pneuma or ruah) which means breath or wind, life, or power which is experienced in storms like Yolanda in Tacloban or in riding on an airplane. The Risen Jesus breathes on his Church and sends his Spirit. Do you want meaning, life, purpose, joy? You have to stay near Him! You have to be around as He breathes forth!

CONCLUSION: What is it essentially that the Holy Spirit is breathing forth? Love is precisely what is the Holy Spirit! Do you want the satisfaction of your deepest longing? Then be close to Jesus as he breathes forth love and you will have what your heart is thirsty for!
Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches